By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)-- Iran has released a Christian convert who served a four-year prison term on charges linked to her Christian activities to receive medical treatment, several Christian sources told BosNewsLife.
Family and friends of Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran said they were pleased that she had been freed Monday, June 6, on health grounds, but expressed concern about her future.
"Maryam, a believer from a Muslim background, has been held for nearly three years in Evin Prison in Tehran and has been suffering from a variety of ailments, most recently nausea, severe headaches and pain in her ears," noted Middle East Concern (MEC) an advocacy group following her case.
"Previously the prosecutor's office had refused to grant permission for Maryam to be treated outside the prison, even though the medical authorities in the prison recognised the severity of her condition and advised that she needs hospital care," MEC added.
The woman had begun a hunger strike on May 26 to protest what she said was a lack of medical care in what is one of Iran's most notorious prisons. On May 30 she was was taken briefly to hospital, but was returned to prison the same day without receiving the necessary treatment, Christians said.
Her family said the the Christian woman's physical condition had becoming increasingly serious and she was close to becoming comatose. "The anxieties suffered by Maryam's family and friends were compounded by the refusal of prison authorities to provide information on Maryam and her condition," MEC added in a statement to BosNewsLife.
Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran was detained in January 2013 while her working with orphans with former Christian prisoner Saeed Abedini, according to Christians familiar with the situation.
She was charged with "acting against national security" and was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, which she started serving in 2013 in the women's ward of Evin Prison. A request for a re-trial was refused.
MEC said that although family and friends "are thankful that Maryam has been released" the group urged prayers that "Maryam will receive proper treatment, and will be restored to good health" and that "the Lord will bless Maryam and her family during this time they will have together." MEC also asked Christians to pray that "Maryam will be fully released from prison soon" and that "God will move the Iranian authorities and officials to love mercy and act justly."
Iranian authorities have expressed concern about the spread of Christianity in the strict Islamic nation where especially evangelical groups include many former Muslims.